Byron Mallot – (photo from the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act school textbook)
There weren’t many textbooks published. I am fortunate to have one from the Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) I attended at the University of Fairbanks in 1987.
My mom taught me correspondence at our trapping cabin on the Nixon River. When I was 12, she was the first to teach me about ANCSA.
A few years later, Doyon leaders came to McGrath and talked to us about the corporations.
It was at RAHI that I came across this photo of Byron Mallot in the textbook and how I remember him.
He and others are my Martin Luther King.
Rest peacefully, Lt. Governor. You did so much for people like me.
It does not flee my mind that your passing is at a time when Tribes are suing the Government to unwind the status we Alaska Natives have, through the most impactful civil rights movement in the world – the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
I believe it is time to reprint another edition of this textbook and put it back into schools and colleges.
It also is not lost on me that the word, “Land” is not in the title of the Act. This Act is the Alaska Native (people’s) Settlement.
It was the oil that created the opportunity, economically and politically, for Alaska Native Leaders to exercise our Self-Governance rights and negotiate with the Federal Government in a way that has never been done before or since.
Alaska Native Corporations are structure created through the negotiated agreement between Alaska Native people and the Federal Government.
As Alaska Native Leaders, these icons did not wait to be granted federal recognition to co-sign our existence and government-to-goverment relationship.
We do not, have not, and should not ever have to ask permission to have an outside government ratify our existence, our right for self-determination or our legal relationship.